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Chris Thomas - One Hot Night in the Cold

  by Lisa Torem

published: 19 / 3 / 2009

Chris Thomas - One Hot Night in the Cold


Lisa Torem finds grainy-voiced former Manfred Mann's Earth Band singer Chris Thompson's pairing with hard driving Norwegian group Mads Eriksen Band to be a collaboration of uncanny perfection on his new live DVD, 'One Hot Night in the Cold'

Chris Thompson’s grainy, emotive voice may best be remembered from his days of fronting Manfred Mann’s Earth Band, in which he sang the hits 'Blinded by the Light' and 'Davy’s on the Road Again'. Thompson then formed the group Night alongside luminaries Stevie Lange, Robbie McIntosh and Nicky Hopkins and continued to win-over American fans with two more albums for Richard Perry’s Planet label and two hit singles before going solo. This current collaboration features Thompson along with the hard driving Mads Eriksen Band on tour in the arctic northern town of Tromso in Norway. This 16 track (plus bonus video) CD of Viking-stealth proportions starts strongly with 'Wasting Time'. Pillaging an intro that recalls 60’s classic- rock influences such as Canned Heat, with pulsating, Hendrix-blessed guitar riffs by Mads Eriksen, Terje Tranaas emblazons the keyboards with soul-searing lava against Thompson’s “true-grit” vocals. Then on 'Hot Summer Nights' Thompson shifts gears. Eriksen’s bittersweet, descending bass-line bisects the halves of this melodic ballad. Thompson’s voice can scratch you like a mountain lion and then heal your fragile heart as he proves on 'Get Up and Dance'. Balancing garage-band humility with passionate phrasing, Thompson more than satisfies. In 'Redemption Song' Thompson unveils a Marley cover – but does a masterful job of putting his own spin on it. Thompson purrs, "I have an angel watching over me wherever I go, If I could do anything before I die, I’d hold you in my arms one more time.” When Thompson speaks “Angel” - accompanied by funicular chord changes - we feel the love. In 'Heart of the Fire', there is a nod to Jim Morrison’s 'Riders of The Storm' as the undulating bass paired with sharp-edged keys juxtapose dreamy, electric fills. "Did ‘ya know that 'Mighty Quinn' is a Dylan cover ?". asks Thompson But this structurally sound classic still rocks the house because of Eriksen’s prowess. Thompson, again, masterfully draws the fans into his frenzied web. Thompson and Eriksen teamed up to pen the next track, a romantic ballad wracked with promise and verve. “We’ve all got to survive those desperate feelings in the middle of the night” ring out the words of 'Burning Light' and the backing vocals make it a wrap. Thompson’s tour de force. 'Blinded by the Light', makes a fetching visual. His beads of sweat and Eriksen’s tsunami-tinged fingers reveal rock- star glam cum real. There are some bedraggled moments here, but drummer Steiner Krokstad stays the course and reverberates this highly-charged epic as Terje Tranaas pumps the keys like there’s no other station around for miles. On 'Davy’s on the Road Again' there is some inter-active intensity between the band mates as the keyboard reigns. 'For You' is a gut-spilling, toned-down Springsteen cover honoring the tireless craftsmanship of Thompson and Tranaas. 'Back In Your Arms Again' flirts with alt.country. I wanted to savour this tune - but the pacing was too darn quick - though the pay dirt is Thompson’s cathartic finish. In 'Suburban Cowboy' Eriksen channels Flatts and Scruggs with his phenomenal speed, while, 'You’re The Voice' acts as spiritual anthem and canvas for Thompson’s rustoleum range. Although Thompson originally co-wrote this worldwide hit for Australian singer John Farnham, here he makes it his loving own. In essence, this 'One Hot Night in the Cold' is a profound mix of old and new and a visually in-depth production and collaboration which boasts a wide range of genres and style. As far as collaboration, the whole Chris Thompson and Mads Ericksen pairing is greatly enhanced by the stellar sum of its parts and the result is uncanny perfection.

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